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Mini trenching part of Virgin Media dig to a gig in Papworth Everard
Wednesday 17 September 2014 11:09:32 by Andrew Ferguson

Only a couple of weeks ago there was the excitement of some further expansion of the Virgin Media cable network with various rumours and gossip about it being a FTTH deployment. Virgin Media has now confirmed the roll-out of fibre direct into peoples homes and the potential for Papworth Everard to enjoy Gigabit broadband speeds.

"Virgin Media continues to push the boundaries of broadband, launching the UK’s first superfast service in 2008 and boosting Virgin Media homes yet again with 152Mb broadband launched this year. We know our network is unbeatable and we are excited to bring 1Gb to the people of Papworth as they help us explore a new way of rolling out our network faster and more cost-effectively."

Paul Buttery, Virgin Media’s Chief Customer, Networks and Technology Officer

The trial of FTTH in Papworth to 100 households will use RFOG which is radio frequency over glass, essentially combining the advantages of fibre optics with the ability to use existing DOCSIS hardware in the home and at the network end where the TV and broadband is fed into the fibre. Additionally Virgin Media is to experiment with using narrow-trenching, which is simply a 10cm wide trench rather than the traditional 40cm trenches used, which in theory should speed up the amount of road/pavement covered in a day to around 100m a day. This is not to be confused with micro-trenching which uses an even narrower trench, which is really more of a one inch wide slot that a fibre tube is squeezed into.

The Gigabit trial by Virgin Media allows the company to look at whether money it has set aside for network expansion could go further and connect even more homes, and raises difficult questions over the current spending of public money to fund superfast network expansion, i.e. was there ever really true market failure for those in the final third of the UK, or was it just a pause while the big operators weathered the recession.


Posted by tmcr over 2 years ago
That will be iGb download and 10Mb up then? VM don't seem to appreciate that people want them to sort out their ratios before announcing yet another leap upwards for download speed. They don't mention upload speed any more. How difficult can it be ?
Posted by Dixinormous over 2 years ago
On the cable network fairly difficult, expensive and time consuming.

Most people still use download way more than upload. Some people may want a more symmetrical service but for most the big headline numbers dazzle.

VM have never openly advertised upstream speeds as far as I can remember.
Posted by aquinn1987 over 2 years ago
Don't know why people argued with me on the last new item about this.

What is the point of Virgin putting outdated infrastructure in the ground which is less cost effective? It is less expensive to rollout a FTTH network than a HFC. Using RFoG it is simple to use legacy hardware.
Posted by cick4internet over 2 years ago
Your forgetting the TV products and lower cost of equipment being possible.
Posted by aquinn1987 over 2 years ago
What do you mean? They will have exactly the same TV boxes as they have in legacy areas. I'm not sure about the cable modems because when I did the RFoG trail we only had 100mbps using the superhub.
Posted by phil_w_lee over 2 years ago
Please sort out the spelling of Papworth Everard in the title, it is not, nor has it ever been "Pepworth".
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